Friday, July 31, 2009

Into the Light

Have you ever lost a blog post? Drafted it, added your photos, maybe even checked for typos, and then never posted it? Let it languish among your drafts for a while and then eventually just forgotten you ever wrote it?

That's what happened to this post. Last summer I had a teeny little obsession with lens flare. Out and about on a sunny day with a camera, I couldn't resist turning my lens towards the sun to see what scattering of light I could capture. I collected a few of my favorite shots to share here, and then they somehow disappeared into the morass of draft posts I have going on at any given time.

Finding this unfinished post in the middle of another (sometimes) sunny summer, remembering the wonder of seeing the sun cast its rays across an image just so, makes me think lens flare might just be an obsession worth revisiting.

While I'm at it perhaps I should revisit my unfinished draft posts once in a while too. Who knows what other good stuff might be in there...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Spotlight: The Uniform Project

Last week a good friend (whose snazzy redesigned blog can be found here) shared with me the website for The Uniform Project, and ever since I have been eagerly anticipating Sheena's daily updates.

The basic idea: Sheena has selected a uniform and will wear it for 365 days straight--an ambitious exercise in sustainability and creativity. She accessorizes with items donated, thrifted and previously owned and manages to take the versatility of the little black dress to whole new dimensions. There are few who could pull off something like this but Sheena does it with great style. As if that's not amazing enough, her efforts go towards a good cause--fund-raising for the purchase of uniforms for a girl's school in India. Read more about it here.

Check out The Uniform Project--you may just get hooked too.

Clockwise from top: Executive chic; Bon voyage at the pier; Cause I'm gonna be a dancer; Friday I'm in love.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Summer in the City: Coney Island

The other day I posted about the fact that I'm counting down my days in New York City and am trying to pack as many quintessential New York experiences as possible into my last months here. I thought Coney Island might be a good place to start.

I know the very name conjures visions of crowded beaches, amusement park rides alive with lights and music, and all manner of odd characters prowling the boardwalk. Coney Island is a undoubtedly a colorful mixture of images. Some of them are iconic, like the famous Wonder Wheel and the Coney Island Cyclone--rides that have been around since the 1920s.

Others are more...shall we say...tawdry, but nonetheless part of Coney Island's unique blend of entertainment and oddity.

I confess, I don't go in for the crowded beach/amusement park scene, so I made my Coney Island visit early in the season when the shores were still empty, waiting for the throngs of summer tourists and city day-trippers. Even though it was not high season, I feel like I got a taste of the Coney Island magic. Do you feel a bit of it too?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Chicago is...

(Cloud Gate, sculpture by Anish Kapoor, Millenium Park, Chicago)

At least that's how Frank Sinatra felt, and I'm hoping the same will be true for me because that's where we are off to. In just a few short months we will be relocating from New York City to Chicago (or, more accurately, the Chicago suburbs). That leaves me just a few more months to enjoy life as a resident of New York City to the fullest, and to prepare myself to embrace a new hometown.

With that in mind, I'm creating two lists. Because who doesn't love a good list?

First, a list of things I must do before leaving NYC. Places to visit or re-visit. Sights to photograph. Restaurants to enjoy. Parks to picnic in. Museums I have yet to explore.

Second, a Welcome to Chicago list. What are the sights, sounds and tastes that every resident of Chicago should experience? How should I go about getting to know the Windy City? As you can see, I have already visited at least one Chicago highlight, a dazzling sculpture affectionately nicknamed The Bean. So one down, many to go.

Those of you who have loved, lived in or visited these two beautiful cities--help me say goodbye to one and hello to the other. What do you think should be on my lists?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bella Italia

I visited Italy for the first time a couple of months ago. I was only there a week, but somehow, two months later, I am still daydreaming about the rolling green hills, picturesque city streets and one very memorable plate of asparagus risotto.

The scenery was stunning. The Italians were warm and welcoming. I took to saying "grazie mille" like a fish to water. And the food was so. darn. good. So good that I have no photographs of it. It was all eaten too fast. So good that I began to wonder whether fresh mozzarella might have been the key to the Renaissance.

And the gelato. Pardon me while I swoon at the memory.

Quick, somebody remind me again why I live here and not there?

From ancient Roman civilization to the churches, frescos and fountains of the Renaissance, we all know that the richness of Italy's history is staggering.

So rich, in fact, that artifacts which would be priceless ancient treasures anywhere else in the world are left lying by the railroad tracks. In Italy they're just the extras.

But the most memorable aspects of the trip remain the little details. Geraniums in a window in Verona. A bulldog sunning himself on a balcony over a small piazza in Venice. A tiny white Fiat 500 sandwiched into a parking spot about the size of my coffee table.

An elderly gentleman boarding a tram in Rome with his briefcase and fedora. Giant wheels of cheese and mountains of salami pouring out of the stalls in the Florence central market. Ornate doorknobs, rain-slicked cobblestones, and lines of laundry hanging against a blue sky.